Erin was still upstairs, Josh had gone up to check on her after Billy left, she was asleep on his bed, wrapped up in his sheets. He climbed on beside her and sat against his headboard. He looked down at her sleeping, she looked peaceful, not a trace of the tears she had cried that morning. He had always known Erin had a bad family life, but he never would have expected that. He thought of the scars that littered her arms and legs, they were even on her back and stomach. He hadn't known what the small round ones were, now he did. What kind of bastard burnt a kid? What kind of bastard burned anyone? As for the self inflicted scars, Josh felt a pang of guilt, he had been her friend all these years and had never noticed. Never questioned why she didn't wear tshirts or shorts, why she never went swimming at the beach.
And as for Billy's admission, gay? Josh hadn't seen that coming. Billy had begged him not to tell anyone, Josh didn't know why. People might be shocked at first, but no one would judge him. No one would look at him differently. Except maybe Frank, but Billy needed to get away from that guy. He was bad news. Erin stirred and woke up.
"Josh?", she asked looking up at him.
"I'm sorry I never told you before", she whispered, "I was scared you wouldn't want to be with me. I thought you'd think I was too much work".
Josh smiled down at her.
"I would never think that", he said, "I'm always going to be here for you".
"There's something I left out", she said looking away, "and I want to tell you now, before I leave it too long".
"Ok", Josh said nervously.
"Remember a year ago when I went to Scotland for 2 weeks?", she said.
"Y-es", Josh said unsure of what was coming next.
"I wasn't in Scotland. I was in hospital", Erin said.
She sat up suddenly and shifted closer to him. She held his hand and looked into his eyes.
"I didn't tell anyone", she said before he could say anything, "I tried to kill myself...".
"Erin why didn't you say anything?", Josh asked.
"I didn't want to draw attention to my Mam", Erin replied looking away, "she may be an absolute bitch but she's my Mam, and she's sick. I didn't want drama, I didn't want everyone knowing and anyway I'm fine now".
"Did you tell Billy?".
Erin was silent.
"No", she said finally, "and please don't tell him".
Josh nodded. He didn't know what to say, but at the same time, he felt good. Erin was trusting him.
Chleo stood at the train station, looking over people's heads. She was hopping from foot to foot in excitement. There he was, she instantly recognised his thick curly hair and thick frame, her face lit up and she waved over at him.
"Dan!", she called, "DAN!".
Dan looked over and saw her, he ran over to her and picked her up.
"I missed you!", he said kissing her.
He put her back down and picked up his bags. She held his hand and she felt like a giddy child.
"I'm so excited for you to meet my friends", she beamed, "they don't know you're coming, it's gonna be such a suprise!".
Dan laughed and put his arm around her shoulder.
"I can't wait either. First I need to check into my hotel though", he said.
Erin had decided to wear a dress. Josh smiled as she studied herself in the mirror. It was a simple black halter neck dress that had a swishy skirt. She was swaying from side to side watching the skirt.
"I've changed my mind", she said suddenly.
"No no no!", Josh laughed, he jumped up and put his arms around her, "I spent a lot of money on this dress, you have to wear it, and anyway, you look beautiful in it".
"But my scars...".
"Nobody will say anything", Josh reassured her, "no one is that rude".
"Well, Frank is a natural dickhead", Josh smiled, "who cares what he thinks?".
Erin smiled and nodded.
"Ok", she said, "lets go".
Billy and Frank walked into the restaurant, they instantly spotted Erin and Josh at a table and went over.
"Hey guys", Billy said awkwardly as he sat down, "how are things?".
The three of them had agreed not to say anything about what had happened. Billy was still nervous around Josh, what if he acted differently?
"Everything is good", Erin smiled, "Josh bought me a dress".
Billy smiled, he was glad Erin was feeling good enough about herself to wear a dress, maybe Josh did know what he was doing.
"It's really nice", he said to her.
Josh looked up from his menu and noticed Frank staring at Erin's arm.
"Hey Erin what...".
Josh let out a sigh of relief, he didn't want to see what would happen if Frank had said something. They looked around and saw Chleo holding hands with some guy, some huge guy, some guy that looked like he could kill all of them. They sat down at the table.
"This is Dan", Chleo said, "he's from Belfast".
Everyone said hi and shook his hand.
"That's Billy, Erin and Josh", she said pointing at everyone, "and that's Frank, but I didn't invite him so I don't know why he's here".
Everybody smiled awkwardly, nobody wanted Frank here.
"Well Frank?", she asked narrowing her eyes.
"Had nothing better to do", he said shrugging.
"Nothing to get high off no?", Chleo said smiling as she opened the menu.
"Nothing worth spending money on", Frank replied smiling back.
"Hmm, I'm sure you could have found a way of paying them isn't that right Frank?", she said reading the list.
"So", Dan said looking around, "are you all in school with Chleo?".
"Yeah", Erin said, "since forever. Sick of her we are".
Chleo stuck her tongue out at her.
"So you all have you exams this year then?", he said smiling.
"Don't remind us", Billy groaned.
"I remember exams", Dan laughed.
"How old are you?", Erin asked, "oh that was rude sorry".
"Nah it's ok I'm 22", he replied.
"Doesn't that make you a pedo?", Frank asked.
"Frank fuck off, no one wants you here", Chleo snapped.
Frank pushed away from the table and stormed off. Billy looked after him and then back to the menu. The others shrugged it off and began chatting, Erin noticed Billy looking back and forth from the door to them, but before she could say anything Chleo did.
"Billy just go", she said.
"Just go, we know you don't want to be here".
Billy didn't reply, he quickly grabbed his stuff and left. Chleo didn't take the smile off her face and changed the subject.
"So are you guys like going to be all girlfriend and boyfriendy now?", she asked Josh and Erin.
"Eh, well, I...", Erin stammered and looked at Josh.
"We haven't talked about it", Josh said.
Chleo rolled her eyes.
"I think I'll have the steak", Dan said closing his menu and sitting back.
Chleo and Erin were in the bathroom, Erin was sitting on a small couch looking at her nails while Chleo reapplied make-up.
"What do you think of Dan?", Chleo asked.
"He's nice", Erin smiled, "I'm really happy for you".
"Yeah", Chleo looked in the mirror dreamily, "and he's like loaded".
"He said he has some news for me", Chleo said, she turned and looked at Erin, "he still hasn't told me though. Do you think it's bad?".
"Chleo", Erin said, "he came all the way down to see you, I don't think it's bad".
Chleo hugged Erin suddenly.
"Chicky Poo", she said squeezing her, "I'm so happy for you too".
Erin hugged her back.
"And I'm glad you're not hiding your scars anymore".
Erin pulled back.
"C'mon Erin. You guys must think I'm stupid", Chleo grinned, "you don't have to tell me what they're from. But you look gorgeous Chicky Poo ok?".
Erin nodded and smiled.
"Come on", Chleo said putting her arm around Erin's waist, "let's go get hammered!".
"Hear! Hear!", Erin exclaimed.